Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Review: The Emotion Thesaurus

I don't know about you, but when I edit, one of the things that really makes me cringe is all the repetition I find trying to show emotion (how many times can my characters sigh, shrug, or look away, anyway?) So, when I  ran into a post about The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi  over on Inkpagent, I immediately had to check it out.

I have the Kindle version, and so that's what I'll be reviewing.

The Set Up

The Emotion Thesaurus includes a brief, but effective, section titled, "Techniques for Writing Nonverbal Emotion." It covers a broad range of topics such as dialogue, the proper use of inner thoughts and avoiding cliched emotions.

This is followed by another brief section explaining how to use the emotion thesaurus

The Main Course

The Emotion Thesaurus contains 75 emotions listed in alphabetical order from Adoration to Worry.
In the Kindle version, each emotion has it's own link in the table of contents taking you directly to the page.

Each emotion is broken down into five sections:

Physical Signals - often more than 30 listed per emotion
Internal Sensations - dry mouths, racing pulses, it's all there
Mental Responses - daydreaming, scheming, those things that run through the mind
Cues of Acute or Long-Term Emotion - this includes links to other related emotions
Cues of Suppressed Emotion - I love this one, so good for hinting w/o everyone knowing.

Each section also includes a writer's tip.

My Take

I highly recommend this book. It's such an amazing resource. Just browsing through it opened my eyes to so many ways I could be beefing up my writing. And when I'm in the zone and really need to find that perfect way to express something, being able to flip to the topic keeps the muse flowing (whereas before, things would often grind to a halt with me wondering, 'well, what would she do/think?')

The Emotion Thesaurus is available for $14.99 paperback, or $4.99 on Kindle and most other e-platforms. I swear I read somewhere that it was available PDF, too, but I'm not having luck finding the link back again.

Angela and Becca host The Bookshelf Muse, which I'm just starting to explore. It's amazing! They have even more thesauri including character traits, settings and even colors. They've been so free and generous with their time and advice.

I hope you'll take the time to look into this great writer's tool.


  1. That is an awesome blog. I'm adding it to the side right now. If the book is that helpful, I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the review!

  2. I'll go grab the Kindle edition right now. Thanks for the great post. I love finding new books on improving writing technique. Emotion is one of those areas I struggle with, too. My people tend to blush and wince a lot.

  3. Always nice to find a new writing tool. Thanks for the review, Susan. Off to get my kindle edition. :)

  4. What an awesome review! I've been frequenting the Bookshelf Muse blog for years, and they have definitely saved my life (or at least it feels like it when I'm writing hard and then come to a halt because I'm not sure how to describe something) many times. Glad to see their book has a great review - I'll definitely pick up a copy for my kindle!

  5. Nice! Well written review, Susan. I want to buy this book, sounds helpful.


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